Henry Grimes

~ Person


"Silent 30 Years, a Jazzman Resurfaces"

A truely exceptional bassist with a polymorphic play that fits well on an incredible range of formations, from hard-bopped Thelonious Monk sessions to the wildest Cecil Taylor gigs, Henry Grimes was the one Charles Mingus hired for his two-bass band.
After having played with almost all the greats of the era, Henry totally disappeared in the late 60's.
Long thought to be dead, he re-emerged after 35 years for an incredible comeback, simply at the top of his form.
Beside the buzz made by that story, Henry Grimes is arguably one of the most important double-bass and violin improvisers, with countless contributions to major sessions, including his own 1964 ESP record "The Call," and continuing today with about 15 new releases since his return to the music world in 2OO3.
As Howard Reich puts it: "Tonally resplendent bass-playing... perpetual-motion lines too fast, fleet and harmonically free-ranging to be easily notated. Grimes emerged a poet of his instrument."
Master jazz musician (acoustic bass, violin, poetry) HENRY GRIMES has played more than 35O concerts in 24 countries (including many festivals) since May of 'O3, when he made his astonishing return to the music world after 35 years away. He was born and raised in Philadelphia and attended the Mastbaum School and Juilliard. In the '5O's and '6O's, he came up in the music playing and touring with Willis (Gator Tail) Jackson, Bullmoose Jackson, (Little) Willie John, and a number of other great R&B / soul musicians; but drawn to jazz, he went on to play, tour, and record with many great jazz musicians of that era, including Albert Ayler, Don Cherry, Benny Goodman, Coleman Hawkins, Roy Haynes, Lee Konitz, Steve Lacy, Charles Mingus, Gerry Mulligan, Sunny Murray, Sonny Rollins, Roswell Rudd, Pharoah Sanders, Archie Shepp, Cecil Taylor, McCoy Tyner, and Rev. Frank Wright. Sadly, a trip to the West Coast to work with Al Jarreau and Jon Hendricks went awry, leaving Henry in Los Angeles at the end of the '6O's with a broken bass he couldn't pay to repair, so he sold it for a small sum and faded away from the music world. Many years passed with nothing heard from him, as he lived in his tiny rented room in an S.R.O. hotel in downtown Los Angeles, working as a manual laborer, custodian, and maintenance man, and writing many volumes of handwritten poetry. He was discovered there by a Georgia social worker and fan in 2OO2 and was given a bass by William Parker, and after only a few weeks of ferocious woodshedding, Henry emerged from his room to begin playing concerts around Los Angeles and shortly afterwards made a triumphant return to New York City in May, 'O3 to play in the Vision Festival. Since then, often working as a leader, he has played, toured, and / or recorded with many of today's music heroes, such as Rashied Ali, Marshall Allen, Fred Anderson, Marilyn Crispell, Ted Curson, Andrew Cyrille, Bill Dixon, Dave Douglas, Paul Dunmall, Andrew Lamb, Edward (Kidd) Jordan, David Murray, William Parker, Marc Ribot, and Cecil Taylor. In the past few years, Henry has also held a number of residencies and offered workshops and master classes on major campuses (including Berklee College of Music, New England Conservatory, the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, the University of Gloucestershire at Cheltenham, and several more). He has released several new recordings, made his professional debut on a second instrument (the violin) at the age of 7O, has now published the first volume of his poetry, entitled Signs Along the Road, and has been creating illustrations to accompany his new recordings and publications. He has received many honors in recent years, including four Meet the Composer grants and a grant from the Acadia Foundation. He can be heard on more than 85 recordings on various labels, including Atlantic, Ayler Records, Blue Note, Columbia, ESP-Disk, ILK Music, Impulse!, JazzNewYork Productions, Pi Recordings, Porter Records, Prestige, Riverside, and Verve. Henry Grimes now lives and teaches in New York City. His official Web site is url http://www.henrygrimes.com url, and he can be reached via his wife Margaret at mailto:musicmargaret@earthlink.net.

Annotation last modified on 2009-12-19 01:46 UTC.



Year Title Artist RatingReleases
2005 Live at the Kerava Jazz Festival Henry Grimes 1
2008 Going to the Ritual Henry Grimes 1
2009 Solo Henry Grimes 1
2009 Profound Sound Trio: Opus de Life Henry Grimes 1
2010 Spirits Aloft Henry Grimes / Rashied Ali 1

Album + Live

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1975 School Days - A 1963 Live Session Released for the First Time Steve Lacy, Roswell Rudd, Henry Grimes, Dennis Charles 1
2007 The Power of Light Oluyemi Thomas & Henry Grimes 1
2014 Live at the Village Vanguard Marc Ribot Trio, Henry Grimes, Chad Taylor 1

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